NewsLocal News


Search for missing La Vista boy Ryan Larsen continues one year later

Posted at 7:40 AM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 15:21:59-04

UPDATED 12:15 p.m.

It's a missing child case that rocked the community and made national headlines. The search for Ryan Larsen continues one year after he went missing during a day at school.

Staff at La Vista West Elementary School reported Larsen missing after he went outside the building during a passing period and did not return.

His disappearance sparked a local, then a national search, that included state and federal authorities working with local agencies.

La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten says his department is still searching for Ryan.

"I wish I could say we've found him alive or deceased and we have a resolution on bringing him home. And then, is there a criminal aspect to this? And you get into the criminal aspect, you have evidence, is there something that's prosecutable? Do you have suspects? That's what we don't have right now and that's what's really frustrating," said Lausten.

Community members are asking people to wear green ribbons or green clothing Tuesday to show support for Ryan and his family.

Facebook Live: Reporter Aaron Hegarty was at Walnut Creek where a search is underway for missing 12-year-old Ryan Larsen

Here's a brief look back at the timeline of Ryan's disappearance.

One year ago Tuesday, on May 17, 2021, La Vista investigators say Larsen was last seen as he walked out of class to switch classes.

That kicked off the search by law enforcement, family, and volunteers.

On day three, the FBI confirmed its involvement.

Search teams used K-9s, drones, and boats at the Walnut Creek Recreation Area, at one point lowering the water—but did not find any clues.

They also focused on the Prairie Creek area as La Vista police went door-to-door near Ryan's apartment in the area of 84th and Harrison.

On May 26th, a rally was held for Ryan at Central Park.

Community members banded together, wearing green ribbons, the color of missing children awareness, as school and city leaders talked about staying positive in the search.

On June 18, investigators found an umbrella with Ryan's DNA on it on his apartment complex grounds.

Police say he may have gone back to his apartment on the day he went missing but did not have a key.

In July, his older sister Taylor put out a Facebook post stating the family is not giving up.

La Vista police say they are still searching for Ryan. We'll hear more about their efforts Tuesday evening on 3 News Now live at 6 p.m.

We'll also hear from Papillion La Vista Community School leaders to find out what changes they're making to keep other kids from going missing.

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.